Are We There Yet? Reconnecting America


Published on

Published in: Education, Technology, Real Estate
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Are We There Yet? Reconnecting America

  1. 1. SCHOOL
  2. 2. Are We There Yet?Creating Complete Communities for 21st Century America Introduction • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 2 Indicators• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 8 Living• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 10 Working • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 30 Moving • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 48 Thriving • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 68 Conclusion• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 86 Grades• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 88 Methodology • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 90
  3. 3. 2 Are We There Yet? housing, and we see citizens getting active in the democratic process and the creation of civic environments that foster more economic activity and jobs — which gives the U.S. an economic competitive advantage. Some of these are measurable outcomes, some we only know when we see and experience them. In the following chapters we lay out some fundamentals of daily life – how we live, how we work, how we move and how we thrive as individu- als, as families, and as a part of communities. We have collected and ana- lyzed data to develop original metrics, and we have studied the metrics others have developed, to come up with an analysis we believe can be useful for helping leaders in cities and regions track how close they are to “there.” We want to highlight some key features that will be described in greater detail throughout this report. First, we are introducing two key terms: We envision creating “complete communities” across the country, places where people can live, work, move, and thrive in a healthier, more equitable, and more economically competitive way. We also write about “opportunity areas,” the places within our cities and regions where we can get a jumpstart on this vision. Second, Reconnecting America has collected data to help all of us understand the existing conditions of our regions and to track progress at the regional level in all 366 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) in the country. A lot of work is underway by different organizations to measure progress at the neighborhood or even development scale. We believe re- gional measures can be very useful in capturing and compiling the impact We all remember being a child on what seemed like an end- less journey to Grandma’s house or the Grand Canyon and asking “Are we there yet?” In America’s cities and towns, we are having one of those “Are we there yet?” moments — although it seems the GPS is malfun- tioning and we have lost the ability to chart a course toward our future. What does “there” look like? How will we know when we are “there”? What are the critical investments we need to make in order to strengthen our regional economies and ensure that America remains globally com- petitive? What are the attributes of communities and regions that help the people who live and work there succeed? How can we ensure that every child – regardless of what zip code they are born into or the color of their skin — has access to opportunities to improve their lives and contribute to America’s prosperity? America is confronting serious issues in this second decade of the 21st century: The gap between rich and poor continues to widen, the middle class is shrinking, and nearly one in four children live in poverty. At the same time, the U.S. is in a transitional period in our economy and our demographics are changing, presenting profound possibilities for creating a 21st century America that offers opportunities for all. Reconnecting America believes that when communities — urban, suburban or rural — offer what people need, we begin to get closer to “there.” We see higher high school graduation rates, reduced rates of obesity and diabetes, and reduced traffic congestion and cleaner air. We see more people walking and biking and engaging in their communities and we see a reduction in crime. Our children live in safe and affordable Introduction
  4. 4. Introduction 31 of neighborhood change on regional performance. Though complete com- munities exist on a neighborhood scale, the benefits of complete commu- nities are regional in nature because they produce better air quality, less congestion, lower obesity rates, reduced poverty, job growth — the list continues. Ultimately, efforts to improve individual neighborhoods must “trickle up” to change regional performance, or we’re not making a dent in the performance of our regions. Third, we have graded every one of the 366 metro areas based on how they measure up to our vision, as detailed in the chapters entitled Living, Working, Moving and Thriving, with metro areas being graded on a curve against metro areas of a similar size. For instance, Altoona, Pennsylvania, is not measured against New York City, but against regions of similar size. Finally, the narrative report describes real-life examples that we have collected — and in some instances that we have experienced first-hand — of leadership, innovation and collaboration occurring in all sorts of places and by all kinds of people. From Oklahoma City to Des Moines to Seattle, we have compiled stories that illustrate forward thinking with tangible outcomes — getting people to work, reducing obesity and en- gaging in a productive civic dialogue. But there are more stories than we could include in this report, and some of these can be found at These stories and anecdotes aren’t tinged blue or red — these are stories of people of all political persuasions who are employing creativ- ity, ingenuity and collaboration to make our cities and regions better places to live for everyone. What is a Complete Community? Our communities need basic elements to support economic opportunity and health for all people, regardless of income level, cultural background or political persuasion. In this report, Reconnecting America does not claim to have captured or addressed all of the complex – and sometimes intangible — elements that contribute to the quality and character of our communities, but we identify some essential elements that help transform our neighborhoods into complete communities. These elements include a quality education, access to good jobs, an af- fordable roof over our heads, access to affordable healthy food and health services, the ability to enjoy artistic, spiritual and cultural amenities, ac- cess to recreation and parks, meaningful civic engagement, and affordable transportation choices that get us where we need to go. Complete communities are inclusive, measured by how residents and workers benefit and not necessarily the shape or form they take, and may likely require other supportive assets we have not covered in this report. What’s the difference between a “complete” community and an “incomplete” one? The metrics and the composite grades we have devel- oped for every MSA in the country indicate whether one region, and the communities that comprise that region, is closer to being complete than another. A region with more As will have more of the components of a complete community than one with many Cs and Ds. The grades also give a sense of where the gaps are and help regional and city leaders focus resources and energy in the most productive places. “A Tale Of Two Cit-
  5. 5. 4 Are We There Yet? A Tale Of Two Cities Greensboro, North Carolina, and Lincoln, Nebraska, are examples of two very different regions, despite their similarities at first glance. Both are relatively small, with less than 1 million people. (Greensboro has around 723,000; Lincoln around 302,000.) Neither region has fixed- guideway transit, though both have a variety of bus, vanpooling, and other transportation options. However, Lincoln scores straight As in Living, Working, Moving, and Thriving, while Greensboro is one of several communities that scored straight Ds. Evaluation of the opportunity areas in each region reveals why these communities score so differently: Lincoln has 12 opportunity areas, while Greensboro has just five, but the real difference is in how they have used their assets. In Lincoln, nearly a quarter (23 percent) of all jobs and 15 percent of all households are in opportunity areas. In Greensboro, only 7 percent of jobs and 1 percent of households are in opportunity areas. (For comparison, an average of 10 percent of jobs and 15 percent of households nationally are in opportunity areas.) Practically, this means that homes and destinations in Greensboro are much more scattered, making it fiscally unrealistic to connect them with transit and more expensive to provide schools, parks, services, and other infrastructure. Thus, Greensboro residents will have to drive more often, because it is simply too far to walk or bike from home to any given destination. In Greensboro, only 1.1 percent of commuters use transit to get to work, and 1.8 percent walk and bike. In Lincoln, the percentage of commuters who use transit is similar, 1.2 percent, but 4.4 percent of the population walks or bikes to work. The opportunity areas have a great deal to do with this difference, and, as a result, according to Transportation for America’s Pedestrian Danger Index, Lincoln’s streets are safer as well. (Transportation for America is a project of Reconnecting America and Smart Growth America.) What has been happening on the ground to make these two places perform so differently? Among the many factors that influence the built environment and transportation choices, planners for the City of Lincoln have worked hard to rein in sprawl. The city created a three-mile buffer around city limits for agricultural uses. To complement this policy, the city ensures there is enough land within the existing boundaries to provide for forecasted development and housing needs. The region’s metropolitan planning organization — which is responsible for many transportation policies in Lincoln — has also adopted a “complete streets” policy, which recognizes the role land-use decisions and proximity to jobs and services play in creating safer streets for everyone. Economic depression has been a major challenge in recent years for the Greensboro region (known as the “Piedmont Triad,” for its three major cities: Greensboro, High Point, and Winston-Salem). Once a hub for the textile, tobacco, and furniture industries, their decline in the past decade resulted in the loss of 70,000 jobs. Greensboro also has been identified as one of the most sprawling places in the United States. Smart Growth America recently ranked the Piedmont Triad as second in the country in terms of sprawling growth. It has proven challenging, however, to offer transportation choices and concentrate growth in a region defined by three major, disparate economic centers, and three separate major jurisdictions, each in control of its own land use policies. This is a challenge that is unique to a handful of regions in the country, and coordinated policies will be needed in the Piedmont Triad to bring up the region’s grades. However, change is in the air. The Piedmont Authority for Regional Transportation (PART) received a Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in 2010, and is busy creating a plan for better coordination between the Triad’s cities and counties. PART also completed a long- range Regional Transit Development Plan that created a regional vision for transportation investments that will be considered in the regional land use plans developed with the grant. In the meantime, individual jurisdictions are considering their own local transit investments, and there are plans for streetcars in Winston-Salem and Greensboro, and passenger rail from Greensboro to Winston-Salem. Our D student is well on its way to a higher grade.
  6. 6. Introduction 51 ies” on the opposite page illustrates the case of two different regions — Greensboro, North Carolina, and Lincoln, Nebraska — and discusses how the history and context of these places contribute to the grades received. What is an Opportunity Area? To measure progress toward complete communities, we have identified neighborhoods in each region that we are calling “opportunity areas.” Char- acterized by smaller blocks or moderate density housing or jobs, opportunity areas have some of the infrastructure in place to help get us “there” — neighborhoods that national research proves can lead to improved connec- tivity and increased rates of walking, biking, and transit use at the regional scale. While these places might lack other critical assets found in a complete community, such as parks, grocery stores, or a mix of housing choices, it is easier to transform an opportunity area into a complete community because the foundational elements or “bones” — such as street grid, water and sewer system, storm drainage, street lighting — are in place. The good news is most regions — of all sizes — have opportunity areas in which to start creating complete communities. In our analysis of the 366 MSAs, only 49 do not have an opportunity area. That means just about every region in this country has a foundation upon which to start building a complete community. And those that don’t have an op- portunity area (and even those that do) can get started by planning for neighborhoods with the fundamental characteristics of opportunity areas — streets that are safe and enjoyable for walking and homes, shops, jobs and other services clustered in hubs of community activity. Why the focus on Fixed-Guideway Transit? Few of us live in the same neighborhood where we work, go to the doctor, or run our daily errands. In many cases our jobs, schools, family, recreation and places of worship can be miles away. That distance makes having quality public transportation choices an important part of the equation of building complete communities. In addition to having a well- maintained and efficient road network, we need to know that when we step to the curb to wait for a bus or train, it will show up often, on time, with a clearly marked route and, ultimately, take us where we need to go. Reconnecting America is a strong proponent of all types of transpor- tation and believes that taking the bus, driving a car, riding the train, bicycling and walking all need to be accommodated and supported in our regional transit systems. That said, for the purposes of the metrics developed for this report, we are primarily measuring how well connected we are to our “fixed-guideway” transit. “Fixed-guideway” transit describes public transportation that oper- ates on a track (streetcar, light rail, or commuter rail), or within a lane of its own that won’t get stuck in traffic (bus rapid transit and ferry service). In this report we measure performance in “station areas,” or neighborhoods located within a half-mile of fixed-guideway transit. Several key issues necessitated our focus on fixed-guideway transit. First, no national source of information exists for bus lines, even high- frequency bus routes. In many regions it can be difficult to find even a bus map. This makes it incredibly difficult to gather quality bus data for every one of the 366 metro areas in the country. Because of the challenges of accessing bus data, we have utilized the data captured through our opportunity areas analysis to evaluate how our 366 metro areas support walking and biking and transit. We have also evaluated the extent to which workers already take transit to work. We acknowledge this approach is insufficient, and we are hoping this report can serve as a national call for a coordinated effort among transit agencies across the country to make their bus data readily available in a consistent format so that we capture the full dynamics of transit systems in different regions. Second, it is the permanent nature of fixed-guideway transit invest- ments that provide assurances to developers that the infrastructure will be in place over the long term, whereas bus routes can be easily changed — moved to another place or the frequency of service reduced. The permanent investment in fixed-guideway transit has significantly greater potential to catalyze the real estate market once the infrastructure is in place, strengthening the promise of potential profits for developers, and thereby spurring reinvestment and change in the community. Moreover, because transit traveling on a fixed-guideway is generally able to avoid traffic, and has a clearly marked route, it is perceived as more reliable than regular bus service, which has to contend with the same congestion issues we face in our cars. Building fixed-guideway transit is costly, however, and many regions will not be able to afford this investment for decades to come — if ever.
  7. 7. 6 Are We There Yet? Moreover, in many places, bus lines in mixed traffic are just as likely as light rail or streetcar to offer a predictable, comfortable transportation alternative. In this report, we assert that, despite its potentially transformative impact on regions, fixed-guideway transit is not needed to create a complete community. Rather, our nation should focus on developing clear regional measures to evaluate how different modes of public transportation service support our communities and economies, including local bus lines. Getting There In the current polarized national political climate where every deci- sion seems to turn into a vitriolic ideological battle, we have lost sight of the big picture. While mired in a political system predicated on short-term gains and long-term denial, it is extremely challenging to chart a long- term vision for our cities and regions that adequately addresses critical issues such as the needed recalibration of our regional economies and workforce so that we can be out in front of global market forces. We need a vision that provides children and families living on the eco- nomic margins with the support systems they need to improve their lives. Such investments across our country not only make economic sense but will serve all of us in the long term. But don’t just take Reconnecting America’s word for it: Throughout this report we explore a multitude of perspectives on the value of building complete com- munities. We share examples of how people of all political leanings are deploying innovative strate- gies to advance and accelerate progress on issues related to Living, Working, Moving and Thriving. And, as the data illustrates, people are voting with their feet, moving to towns and cities and suburban communities where it’s easier and more affordable to get around and access daily needs. For Reconnecting America, this is the start of an ongoing dia- logue to bring to life what “there” looks and feels like in all kinds of places. How do we know we are moving in the right direction? How will we know when we are there? Let’s work together and make it a national project to build complete communities that will strengthen the promise of America’s future. Join us. Regions With
  8. 8. Introduction 71 And Without Opportunity Areas Regions With Opportunity Areas Regions Without Opportunity Areas This map shows the 366 metro regions graded in this report. All but 49 regions have at least one opportunity area. For a complete list of regions with and without opportunity areas visit the web- site at arewethereyet Source: Reconnecting America
  9. 9. 8 Are We There Yet? Goals Create affordable communities with transportation choices that: Indicators / Sources Reconnecting America collected information on 33 indicators that can be used to measure a region’s progress toward becoming a complete community, and each of those indicators was used to grade all 366 metro regions in the U.S. Those indicators are listed here, and they are grouped under Living, Working, Moving and Thriving. More information on how we measured different indicators is in the Methodology section at the end of this report. Indicators for all 366 metro regions can be found on our website: Maximize the number of households … in fixed-guideway transit station areas and opportunity areas Maximize the range of households … in fixed-guideway transit station areas and opportunity areas Preserve and stabilize existing neighborhoods ... in fixed-guideway transit station areas and opportunity areas Focus future growth in opportunity areas Percent of households near fixed-guideway transit CTOD Percent of households in opportunity areas Reconnecting America Percent of households near fixed-guideway transit who are low income CTOD Percent of households in opportunity areas who are low income Reconnecting America Percent of section 8/202 units near fixed-guideway transit Reconnecting America Percent of section 8/202 units in opportunity areas Reconnecting America Growth in opportunity areas compared to the region Reconnecting America Provides more transit options for accessing our jobs Clusters jobs to allow easier transit access Retains and attracts new regional talent and firms Provides access to a range of job opportunities Percent of jobs near existing fixed-guideway transit CTOD Percent of jobs near planned fixed-guideway transit Reconnecting America Percent of jobs accessible by transit (within a 45 minute commute) Brookings Institution Percent of jobs in opportunity areas Reconnecting America Weighted employment density Public Policy Institute of California Percent of 18- to 34-year olds with a college degree U.S. Census Percent of low- and moderate-income jobs accessible on transit (within a 90 minute commute) Brookings Institution WorkingGoals Use transportation options to enhance regional economic growth that: Indicators / Sources Living Indicators
  10. 10. Indicators 91 Goals Reduce Auto Dependency and Vehicle-Related Emissions that: Indicators / Sources Increase transit optionsns Increase transit usage Make walking and biking safe Make walking and biking accessible and attractive Number of fixed-guideway transit stations CTOD Number of future fixed-guideway transit stations Reconnecting America Percent of fixed-guideway transit stations in opportunity areas Reconnecting America Percent of commuters who take transit U.S. Census Change in number of commuters who take transit U.S. Census Pedestrian Danger Index Transportation for America Percent of commuters who walk or bike U.S. Census Percent of blocks smaller than 6 acres Reconnecting America Provide access to healthy food Promote physical activity Provide access to arts, recreation and entertainment Make us happy Percent of low-income households more than a mile from a grocery store USDA Food Atlas Percent of households with no car more than a mile from a grocery store USDA Food Atlas Percent of opportunity areas in food deserts Reconnecting America/USDA Food Atlas Number of fast food establishments for every healthy one USDA Food Atlas Percent of population getting no regular physical activity Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Percent of households who live near parks Reconnecting America Percent of the households near parks who are low income Reconnecting America Acres of parks for every household (in opportunity areas) Reconnecting America Employees in arts and entertainment jobs Reconnecting America/U.S. Census County Business Patterns Gallup Healthways Well-Being Index Gallup ThrivingGoals Support complete, vibrant communities that: Indicators / Sources Reduce per-capita vehicle miles traveled Average vehicle miles traveled per household Center for Neighborhood Technology Moving
  11. 11. Living 11 EXPANDING CHOICES Americans are beginning to change their expectations of what makes a house a home. We are less interested in spending three hours a day slogging to work from the fringes of suburbia — and less and less able to pay for the gas to do so. We’re beginning to return to cit- ies as well as to closer-in suburbs that offer more housing and trans- portation choices. We’re looking for lofts, apartments, places where we can walk to shops, take a bus or train or bike to work, and more easily enjoy the companionship of neighbors. The realities of the 21st century are calling for these different life- style and real estate choices: high gas prices and traffic congestion; the increasing expense of heating, cooling and maintaining a large home; a severe, long-term recession, tough job market and the need to reduce spending; a rapidly aging population and more single-person and single parent households; concerns about America’s public health, and our ability to compete in the global economy; concerns about the environment and climate change. “A new image of America is in the making,” notes Brookings Institution demographer William Frey after Brookings released its analysis of 2000-2008 census data. “What used to be white flight to the suburbs is turning into ‘bright flight’ to cities that have become magnets for aspiring young adults who see access to knowledge-based jobs, public transportation and a new city ambiance as an attraction. Old stereotypes no longer apply.” Carol Coletta, then director of CEOs for Cities, adds in a 2011 USA Today interview, “Clearly the next generation of Americans is looking for different kinds of lifestyles — walkable, with art, culture and entertain- ment. This is no longer anecdotal. Every metro area has good suburbs, but if you don’t have a strong downtown and close-in neighborhoods then you are not offering a choice that many of them are seeking. Offering that choice is a real competitive advantage for cities.” More choices are indeed what Americans seem to want now, and one popular choice — not for all Americans, but an increasing number — is what some people are calling “complete communities.” These are neighborhoods in cities and suburbs where daily exercise is routine and pleasant and could involve walking or biking to work, where daily tasks, including shopping and taking the children to school, can also be done on foot or bike, where neighborhoods are clean and safe and “neighborly,” and both housing and transportation is more affordable. These “complete communities” are built upon “opportunity areas,” a term we use to denote those neighborhoods — or even just a part of a neighborhood — with smaller blocks and moderate density housing and/ or jobs so that some people can live and work in the same neighborhoods. Living
  12. 12. 12 Are We There Yet? Opportunity areas and complete communities can be in urban or suburban places, though they tend to be in the downtowns and “first-ring” suburbs of older cities. In many downtowns and close-in suburbs the combination of vacant lots and abandoned properties as well as historic rail infra- structure offer redevelopment potential, and investment in these places could bring new life to neighborhoods that would offer people the kind of housing and transportation choices that have become popular. According to Reconnecting America’s research, more than 1 in 6 American households are in opportunity areas, a total of more than 17 million households. See List below: Top 10 regions with households in opportunity areas. THE EXODUS The “old stereotypes” to which Frey refers are the “incomplete communities,” the single family homes in single-use residential neigh- borhoods that became defined after WWII as the American Dream. They are connected by wide roads and freeways, and were built farther and farther out from downtowns. These are the neighborhoods that were promoted first by the loan guarantees provided by the G.I. Bill, and supported by the mortgage tax deduc- tion, the lending policies of private banks and a mas- sive road-building program, which together with other factors prompted an exodus from cities to the suburbs. As Buzz Bissinger writes in the 1998 book A Prayer for the City: “The FHA, founded in 1934, was intended to help revive the nation’s dormant housing industry during the New Deal. But the ultimate influence of the FHA and its housing cousin, the Veterans Administration, went far beyond that, making the dream of home ownership available to millions of middle-class Americans, just as long as it was a dream that largely confined itself to the suburbs and not to the older cities.” Mark I. Gelfand provides more detail in A Nation of Cities, a book published in 1975, explaining that the Federal Housing Administration “red-lined vast areas of the inner cities, refusing to insure mortgages where the neighborhoods were blighted or susceptible to blight.” Blight was defined not only in terms of the physical quality of the neighborhood, but also its racial and ethnic composition. “This ac- tion practically guaranteed that these districts would deteriorate still further and drag cities down with them.” As a result, the suburban population increased by 43 percent from 1947 to 1953, compared to an increase of only 11 percent for the gen- eral population, according to Harvard professor Lizabeth Cohen. And over the 1950s families continued their escape to the suburbs, which grew an explosive 45 percent, compared to a growth rate in cities of just 0.1 percent. To meet this enormous demand, the home building industry developed a mass production model geared for large tracts of suburban homes linked by freeways, and the suburban population con- tinued to grow, reaching 50 percent of the total national population in 2000, according to Cohen. But this trend seems to have turned around, at least in the near term. As of July 2011 the U.S. Census Bureau reported that suburban growth had slowed to less than that of urban areas and that the nation’s cities were growing faster than the country as a whole, as the financial and foreclosure crises pushed more people to rent, soaring gas prices made long commutes unappeal- ing, and high unemployment drew more people to big job centers. “There’s a pall being cast on the outer edges,” says John McIlwain of the nonprofit Urban Land Insti- tute, in an April 2012 USA Today story. “The foreclosures, the vacancies, the uncompleted roads. It’s uncomfortable out there. The glitz is off.” Adds Frey of Brookings, “This could be the end of the exurb as a place where people aspire to go when they’re starting their families. So many people have been burned by this . . . First-time home buyers, immi- New York, NY LOS ANGELES, CA SAN FRANCISCO, CA CHICAGO, IL LAREDO, TX PHILADELPHIA, PA HONOLULU, HI BOSTON, MA SAN JOSE, CA ALTOONA, PA Top 10 regions with households in opportunity areas Source: Reconnecting America • • • • • 63.5% • • • • • 54.7% • • • • • 43.8% • • • • • 38.8% • • • • • 36.4% • • • • • 33.7% • • • • • 32.9% • • • • • 32.3% • • • • • 31.9% • • • • • 29.8%
  13. 13. Living 13 suggests converting McMansions — many of which sit empty — into affordable housing for multi-generational or multi-family households. He points out that while the average 3.5-person home was smaller than 1,000 square feet in 1950; a 6,000-square-foot McMansion is roomy enough for 12, with parking for five or six cars. Nelson also contends that homeowners could spark a housing boom by retrofitting their current homes to include granny flats, backyard studios, garage and basement apartments. What better way, he argues, to increase density and affordability in neighborhoods near public transit? His studies show that a third of American house- holds want to live where they can own fewer cars but that less than 10 percent can find housing in these locations. ON THE WAY THERE In a recent article on a spokesman for Wells Fargo, the nation’s largest mortgage lender, noted that while the housing crisis is likely to take a decade to rebound, the places that are seeing gains today are urban areas with infill projects. “We are seeing gains in more and more cities, and builders are more upbeat,” says Mark Vitner, senior Wells Fargo economist. “The gains are small, however, and are often in infill locations or in partially built-out projects near key employment centers.” These projections are bolstered by studies such as one recently conducted by the Metropolitan Council in the Twin Cities, which has built one light rail line and is building another. The Met Council study shows that residents in the seven-county region are moving closer to the urban core where there’s more transit: While 67 percent of all residential units permitted in the 1990s were single-family houses, the number fell to 44 percent during the past decade. Similarly, while 8.4 percent of development was higher- density and mixed-use in 2010, the study predicts the percentage will increase to 55 percent in 2030. Met Council analyst John Kari says in the Finance & Commerce newspaper that this shift is the most significant that he’s seen since the council began developing comprehensive plans in the 1970s. He adds that he believes the shift in demand toward apartments, condos, townhomes and small-lot detached housing is permanent. The Resilience Of Complete Communities grants and minorities took a real big hit.” Unfortunately, the real estate industry’s mass-production model doesn’t work when it comes to building infill housing on small lots in urban neighborhoods — which is where the real estate market is most active now — because there isn’t the same economy of scale. An article in The Atlantic in 2011 summed up the situation, pointing out that the suburban McMansion on a large tract of land exempli- fied a way of life in America at a particular point of time in the 1990s when Baby Boomer families were at the height of their income and household size, consumerism was at an all-time high and so was debt. But that moment has passed — parents are retiring, children have left home — and the foreclosure crisis has hit the suburbs hardest. CHANGES IN THE HOUSING MARKET One lesson that emerges from the housing market meltdown is that people need and want more choices — in both urban and suburban locations — especially more affordable choices. If the McMansion typified one extreme, Tiny House blog typifies the other, and offers options for downsizing. This is a trend that has also been tracked on the cover of Dwell: While a 2005 magazine cover was headlined “Small Is the New Big: Homes Under 2,200 Sq. Ft.,” and a 2006 cover read “Think Small: Homes Under 1,700 Sq. Ft.,” the 2008 cover read “Small Wonders: Homes Under 1,000 Square Feet.” Further evidence of this trend is the Katrina cottage, which ranges in size from 308 to 1,800 square feet and was designed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina as an alternative to the FEMA trailer. The earliest version of the cottage was mobile, like the FEMA trailer, but of higher design quality and for the same $70,000 price. The Katrina cottage, which has gained popularity around the U.S. as an affordable housing choice, can be installed on site from a kit. The popularity of small is likely also due to the fact that house- hold size is decreasing. The new census numbers show that while nearly half of the U.S. population lived in households of six or more people in 1900, by 2000 more than half lived in households of one, two or three people. The Atlantic article mentioned earlier focuses on the housing mar- ket research of Arthur C. Nelson, director of the Metropolitan Research Center at the University of Utah, who offers some provocative ideas about reviving the housing market by providing more choices: Nelson
  14. 14. 14 Are We There Yet? HOUSING AND TRANSIT If small is one solution to the problem of affordability, locating housing near good public transportation is definitely another important solution in this era of dramatic gas price increases. Nelson believes the demand for housing near frequent bus lines and rail stations is so high that meeting it would require that every new residential unit construct- ed between now and 2050 would have to be built near transit. This supports research by the Center for Transit-Oriented Development (CTOD) in 2004 that projected the demand for housing near fixed-guideway sta- tions by 2030 would be 14.6 million households. Robert Lang, professor of urban affairs at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, believes that locating housing near transit provides a housing choice that could revitalize the suburbs. Lang has analyzed the fastest growing “boomburbs” in the Sun Belt, and he told USA To- day in 2012 that of the 76 suburbs he studied the 43 with rail service — including Plano, Texas, Tempe, Arizona, and Aurora, Colorado — grew faster than those without rail lines. “In the last decade boom- burbs grew one way: out,” Lang says. “This decade, large suburban cities can grow up around station stops.” Suburbs and smaller towns can both benefit from locating housing near transit. See chart at right: Households near transit in smaller regions. The good news is that as the demand for more transportation choices has increased, regions are building more transit lines and more stations. Research by CTOD shows that the number of people who live near “fixed-guideway” transit — either rail or bus rapid transit that runs in a dedicated lane apart from other traffic — increased from 6.2 million households in 2000 to 6.6 million today. See list on opposite page: Top 10 regions with the fastest household growth near transit. CTOD also found that regions with more extensive transit networks have exponentially more people living in neighborhoods around sta- tions. See chart on page 16: Transit system size matters. This is not only because there are more transit stations and because the neighborhoods around these stations typically allow taller buildings and higher densities. It’s also because larger transit systems connect residents and workers to more destinations, which make these station area neighborhoods more attractive places in which to live and work. Also, be- cause these systems are bigger they provide greater potential to organize a region’s growth, thereby minimizing traffic congestion — which is key to ensuring that people and goods can keep moving, rather than idling in traffic. And this enhances a region’s economic competitiveness. A NEW HOUSING MARKET Building the kind of housing that people want in the locations where they want to live matters a great deal, Brookings Institution real-estate expert Christopher Leinberger wrote in The New Republic in 2010, because fixing the hous- ing market is key to fixing the economy. Leinberger wrote that the built environment — defined as housing and commercial real estate and the transportation infrastructure that supports it — constitutes more than 35 percent of the assets of the American economy, the largest percent. Leinberger also believes that an increasing share of the market is demanding something differ- ent. “What we need is ‘alterna- tive’ transportation including rail, bike and walking infrastructure, and walkable development,” he wrote. “Without building this second half of the transportation system — and redeveloping our cities and transforming our suburbs with mixed-use, walkable development — we’ll be condemned to years of stagnation.” 14% 12% 10% 8% 6% 4% 2% 0% BRIDGEPORT,CT TRENTON,NJ SANTA FE,NM MOUNTVERNON,W A Bremerton ,W A M ic higan Cit y,IN New Haven ,CT Poug hkeepsie ,NY Eugene ,OR Atlantic Cit y,NJ Top 10 regions with a population of less than 1 million where the highest percentage of people live near transit. Source: CTOD Households near transit in smaller regions
  15. 15. Living 15 It’s not only the real estate market that’s demanding something different. Municipalities that have been struggling because of the reces- sion have come to understand that sprawl isn’t an efficient or feasible development pattern. This point of view was compellingly explained in a 2012 opinion piece on by Bill Fulton, a well-known planner and former mayor of Ventura, California. “The way in which we plan and build our towns and cities has a direct impact on how well they do,” Fulton writes. “Financial resiliency and prosperity is woven into the very fabric of cities. Where businesses go, where houses go, where roads go, where sidewalks go, where farms and natural spaces go — all of these things collectively affect a com- munity’s economic performance and the cost of providing services. Put things closer together, the services cost less. Put things farther from each other, the services cost more for the jurisdiction and its taxpayers. But in the case of many American towns and cities, we haven’t always planned and built in this fiscally conservative way – and that’s one of the biggest reasons why cities are struggling today.” The housing market is also challenged by the fact that home ownership is declining. While home ownership peaked in 2004 at 69 percent, according to David Shulman, senior economist at UCLA’s Ziman Center for Real Estate, the percentage fell to 66 percent in 2011 and is likely to fall to 65 percent by the end of 2012. Because of this, Nelson and others suggest that if the housing market is to deliver the choices that people need now not only should every new residential unit be built near rail stations but it should also be a rental unit. While real estate values have fallen in the suburbs, they have risen in walkable and bikeable urban neighborhoods, a change quantified in a study by the Brookings Institution that looked at real estate values in urban communities compared to suburban communities. “Until the 1990s exclusive suburban homes that were accessible only by car cost more, per square foot, than other kinds of American housing,” writes Leinberger in the New York Times. “Now, however, these suburbs have become overbuilt, and housing values have fallen. Today the most valu- able real estate lies in walkable urban locations.” ARTISTS HELP TRANSFORM NEIGHBORHOODS To attract investment and energy to their urban cores and build the walkable neighborhoods that the market is demanding, some cities have begun building housing specifically for artists. Artists often look for studio space in abandoned downtowns and industrial neighborhoods, where they can find large spaces and low rents. Once these artists have established themselves in the neighborhood, they often attract retail, bars and restaurants, and non-artists join them, boost- ing property values and the tax base — resulting in the transformation of these neigh- borhoods. For example, HRI Proper- ties, a pioneer in the adaptive re-use of historic buildings in New Orleans, gave the old Blue Plate Mayonnaise factory, known for producing the first commercially made mayon- naise in the U.S., new life by fixing it up for artists. The classic Art Deco building stood empty when Hurricane Katrina prompted Blue Plate Mayon- naise to close up shop and move to Knoxville, Tennessee. Today, artists can display their work throughout the building, which even has a busi- ness center and soundproofed music rehearsal space. In some states, arts advocates and community developers have Memphis, TN Jacksonville, fl denver, co miami, fl seattle, wa portland, or salt lake city, ut dallas, tx detroit, mi atlanta, ga Top 10 regions with the fastest household growth near transit Source: CTOD • • • • • 74.5% • • • • • 35.4% • • • • • 31.2% • • • • • 28.2% • • • • • 28.1% • • • • • 24.8% • • • • • 22.4% • • • • • 21.6% • • • • • 20.6% • • • • • 19.2%
  16. 16. 16 Are We There Yet? persuaded agencies to allow the use of federal resources for these projects, arguing that artists are catalysts for economic develop- ment. There are projects underway in Seattle, Baltimore and in Long Beach, California, that are targeted for artists who are willing to be transit-dependent — no parking is provided, which reduces costs for developers, who can then charge lower rents. The Long Beach project is a 147-unit senior arts colony in a larger development with three residential buildings, next to a light rail station and enhanced bus stop, and with car-sharing, a bike facility, dog park and commu- nity gardens. “Artist communities re-energize neighborhoods,” Wendy Holmes, senior vice president for Artspace — a Minneapolis nonprofit that de- velops live/work spaces for artists around the country — says in the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “Even though we’re business people, it’s not always about the bottom line. It’s about community engage- ment.” Developer Larry Schedler notes, in the same article, that old buildings in old neighborhoods are the perfect place for niche developments such as artist housing. “I think it’s a phenomenon you’ll see more of. There’s a need and a market for developments that bring creative people together.” THE HIGH COST OF H+T Housing costs have grown far faster than income over the past 50 years, and the share of households that struggle to pay their rent or mortgage has increased dramatically over the past decade, according to a recent study by Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. The 2012 study found that well over one-third of U.S. households paid more than 30 percent of their income for housing in 2009, while almost 26 percent spent more than half their paychecks, the highest level in half-a-centu- ry. Renters, with their generally lower incomes, are more than twice as likely to spend more than half on housing. Household debt surged from 65 percent of disposable income in 1980 to 133 percent in 2007, William Galston writes in The New Republic in 2011, largely because of the enormous escalation in mortgage indebt- edness. As a result, the rental market has been flooded not only with families who lost their homes to foreclosure but also with higher-income families who are also struggling to make ends meet. As a result, vacan- cies are down and rents are up. In the Western U.S. — where the short- age of affordable housing is greatest — the National Low Income Housing Coalition estimates that there are only 53 units available for every 100 very-low-income families. Add to this the fact that rising gas prices have increased household transportation costs, and household budgets are really stretched. Transpor- tation is the second largest household expenditure after housing according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the American Automobile Associa- tion (AAA) estimates that the cost of owning and maintaining a car increased 1.9 percent in 2011 to $8,946 in 2012. As a result, homebuyers and renters are increasingly factoring in transportation costs when making housing choices. Cody Helgeson, who moved with his wife from their home in the sub- urbs of Phoenix to an apartment downtown, tells the Arizona Republic, “Now we’ve got it down to one vehicle and we are able to go one whole month on a tank of gas because we walk everywhere. When we lived in [the suburb of] Queen Creek we were budgeting about $500 a month for gas.” Moving downtown, he notes, also boosted their social life. Indeed buying a house on the far fringes of a region might seem less expensive until the hidden costs of transportation are figured in, and then what appears to be a deal isn’t — a fact made clear by the “Housing + Transportation Affordability Index,” which expands the idea of “affordability” to include transportation costs in addition to This chart shows the average number of families who live near stations in transit systems of different sizes (the size is defined by number of stations). Source: CTOD 1800 1600 1400 1200 1000 800 600 400 200 0 small 1-24 Stations medium 25-74 Stations large 75-199 Stations Extensive 200+ Stations Transit system size matters
  17. 17. Living 17 housing. The “H+T index” was developed by the national nonprofit Center for Neighborhood Technology, which has now created a version that will be used by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Devel- opment to help renters and homebuyers make more informed housing choices and investment decisions. “Affordability is much more than just paying the mortgage, it involves other costs like transportation, gas, and utilities,” says Shaun Donovan, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. “The availability of a national affordability index will provide consumers better information about the true costs of a home by accounting for that housing’s proximity to jobs, schools and other services. Our goal with the creation of this housing and transportation index is to provide American families with a tool that can help them save money and have a better understanding of their expenses and household budget.” MOBILITY VS. ACCESS Complete communities are key to reducing the cost of H+T. “Access” is central to the idea of complete communities, and access is predi- cated on reducing the distance, and the time and money we have to spend on getting where we need to go. In other words, explains Todd Litman of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, “Mobility is how far you can go in a given time. Access is how many useful or valuable things you can do in that time.” Complete communities, and the opportunity areas upon which they are built, are the places where people can take care of their daily busi- ness on foot or on bike, and longer distances can be traveled by bus or rail, which means that households can own fewer cars. Complete com- munities are also the best places for older Americans, younger Americans ON THE WAY THERE A Focus On Two Smart Cities The goal of the Natural Resources Defense Council “Smarter Cities” project, is to identify “leader cities” that are employing best practices as they rethink and reshape their built environments. Both Jersey City, NJ, and the Midwestern twin cities of Champaign- Urbana, IL are cited among the top 15 national models because of the strategies they have employed to make it easier for residents to walk, bike and take transit. Jersey City has a commuter rail system, while Champaign- Urbana has bus but no rail. JERSEY CITY — Densely populated Jersey City, across the Hackensack River from lower Manhattan, has the lowest average household VMT or vehicle miles traveled, for any metropolitan region in the U.S. It’s one of only two regions, together with New York City, with an average car ownership rate of only one car per household — only 60 percent of Jersey City residents own or have access to a car. That’s probably because more than 98 percent of households are within a quarter mile of a bus stop or half a mile from a rail station, a rate higher than anywhere else in the U.S. This success has to do with the region’s smart growth strategies as well as the daunting cost of traveling by car, which includes the high cost of parking as well as tolls on roads, bridges and tunnels. And there’s a robust transit system of commuter rail, light rail, buses with bike racks, and a ferry — with so many choices it’s much easier to leave the car at home. Now the city is designating bike lanes, and plans walkways and trolley buses to enhance access all along the waterfront, where the city wants to build 19,000 transit-oriented housing units, office and retail. CHAMPAIGN-URBANA — These twin cities have been working together to create a shared transportation plan that prioritizes pedestrians, bicycles and public transit. The University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana straddles both cities, with a student population of about 40,000 that mostly lives in Urbana near the campus and walks to class. Bus passes for students are only $46 a semester for unlimited use, and to encourage all residents to take the bus — since 90 percent live within a quarter mile of a bus route and the average commute is just 15 minutes — the transit agency reduced the cost of annual transit passes for everyone from $235 to just $60 a year, and created four routes from downtown to the university that run on 10-minute headways. To make walking, biking and transit an even more popular choice — for students as well as other residents — the cities are also revamping car-centric roads that have been historically unsafe for pedestrians and bicycles. Among the investments being made are new bike lanes, refuge islands for pedestrians at bus stops, new sidewalks and space for sidewalk cafes, additional bus shelters, and improved lighting.
  18. 18. 18 Are We There Yet? and the disabled, who can maintain their independence because they don’t have to rely on others to get around. These rising transportation costs are a significant driver of the up- swing in demand for housing in downtowns and close-in neighborhoods, and as demand increases more of these neighborhoods will be built and existing neighborhoods will be retrofitted. In Houston, Texas, for example, the construction of a transit line and station in University Place — an ur- ban neighborhood near Rice University with small blocks, walkable streets and a mix of uses — turned the neighborhood into a more complete com- munity by making it easy and convenient for residents to walk and bike in the neighborhood and rely on transit to get to destinations outside. In suburban Hillsboro, Oregon, a master-planned New Urbanist vil- lage was built on a very large tract of undeveloped land near a station on a rail line connecting Portland to its suburbs. The developer built housing, stores and commercial space on small blocks connected by walkable streets, with the result that the people who live there walk, bike and take transit more than the average resident in the region. Transit access increases the potential of opportunity areas to become complete communities — since the goods and services that people can’t access on foot or on bike can be accessed via transit. America is already headed in this direction. Reconnecting America’s research shows that 58 percent of all transit stations are located in opportunity areas. PRICED OUT AND PUSHED OUT Along with the growing demand for walkable neighborhoods near transit, though, is the potential for a disturbing consequence: The low- er-income people who already live in these places — and who may use transit the most — can get pushed out as prices rise. Gentrification can bring investment to underserved communities and many historic urban core neighborhoods, but cities need the tools and capacity to manage the change so that people of all incomes can live in these places. The threat of displacement tends to be greatest where the real estate market is active, or where new transit lines may activate an oth- erwise sluggish market because transit will make commuting to nearby job centers easier and faster — thereby increasingly the likelihood that more people will want to move in. CTOD’s National TOD database shows that while median income in the U.S. decreased by 5 percent during the past decade, income near transit increased 1 percent. See chart above: Top 5 regions with the greatest increase in median income near transit. But the reasons may be different in each region: maybe people with higher incomes are moving in, maybe the people who already live there have begun making more money because there has been investment and more economic activity, or maybe low-income people are being dis- placed. Monitoring these changes will allow cities to determine whether 90,000 80,000 70,000 60,000 50,000 40,000 30,000 20,000 10,000 0 Jacksonville,FL NEW ORLEANS,LA LITTLE ROCK,AK M EM PHIS,TN W ASHINGTON,DC 1999 Regional Median Income 2009 Regional Median Income 1999 Median Income Near Transit 2009 Median Income Near Transit These regions have seen the sharpest increase in income near transit, but as this chart shows, in most places it is still below that region’s median income. Source: CTOD Top 5 regions with the greatest increase in median income near transit
  19. 19. Living 19 displacement is occurring and if policy interventions are necessary. During the go-go years of the housing boom many affordable units were upgraded for higher-income tenants or, in strong real estate markets, converted to condos. According to Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, for every new affordable apartment built, two are lost to condo conversion, demolition or abandonment. But as more people get pushed further to the fringes they have less access to transit, and they will be living in places where there’s less chance that transit will ever be built. According to a 2011 study by the Brookings Institution, at least 700,000 Americans don’t have cars and don’t have access to transit either, raising issues of social equity as well as economic concerns. The most vulnerable families, the report points out, live in the suburbs, and in suburban cities, including Dallas, Houston, Phoe- nix, St. Louis and Atlanta. Only 69 percent of Atlanta residents have access to transit, for example, compared to Los Angeles and New York, where 99 percent of residents have access to either bus or rail. The authors of the report point to the rapid suburbanization of poverty, as well as “job sprawl,” as the two biggest factors put- ting carless families at risk. They also point out that the U.S. has built 655,000 roadway lane miles of highways since the 1980s, enabling development farther out and in- creasing distances between destinations — thereby making it even more difficult to serve people with transit. Local and national leaders can respond to this crisis by encourag- ing the adoption of land use policies that promote denser development that is easier to serve with transit, as well as by expanding transit to underserved suburban downtowns. “The cost of putting housing and jobs in the wrong place, relative to transportation, is huge,” says HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. “Not just in environmental costs, not just because people are spending more on their commutes, but also because of the cost of this growth over the long term.” EXPIRING SECTION 8 VOUCHERS Investors are buying up empty suburban properties in part, as a 2011 Washington Post article noted, because of the steadily dropping home ownership rate and the foreclosure crisis – lenders have seized more than a million homes and it is estimated there are another 11 mil- lion foreclosures in the pipeline. These investors have started looking for renters not buyers, and they are eyeing the 2 million households with Section 8 vouchers — a government funding program that helps lower-income people find affordable housing. “It’s guaranteed money,” David Benham, a property owner who sells bank foreclosures to investors in 35 states, says in the Post. “I love Section 8. I wish every one of my properties was Section 8.” The Section 8 program helps ex- pand the supply of housing that is affordable by subsidizing the difference between what lower- income people can pay — 30 to 40 percent of household income — and the rents landlords are charging. HUD’s Section 8 program also provides funding for new con- struction or the rehabilitation of housing units that will be set- aside as affordable housing for 5 to 30 years, depending on the terms of the contract. Reconnecting America calculates that 40 percent of these units are in opportunity areas. However, the contracts on these Section 8 units are beginning to expire, as are contracts on other kinds of subsidized housing. Many of these “at-risk” affordable units were developed under federal, state and local programs created in the ‘60s, ‘70s and early ‘80s to promote the development of affordable housing by the private sector. The majority of these units were financed and assisted by HUD through below-market interest rates and rental housing subsidies and contracts that typically lasted 40 years. Once the contracts expire these units can be rented or sold at mar- 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% LAReDO,TX CORPUS CHRISTI,TX ELPASO,TX AUSTIN,TXALBUQUERQUE,NMDALLAS,TX HOUSTON,TXTUCSON,AZSAN ANTONIO,TXPHOENIX,AZ Expiring Non-expiring Affordable housing at risk in the Southwest This chart shows the percentage of contracts on federally subsidized housing in opportunity areas that will expire in the next five years. Source: Reconnecting America
  20. 20. 20 Are We There Yet? ket-rate prices, thereby significantly reducing the supply of affordable housing. Reconnecting America quantified the risk: Contracts on 58 per- cent of the federally subsidized units in opportunity areas are “at-risk” within the next five years, because these property owners could decide not to renew their contracts. The risk is greatest in the Southwest — especially in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona — where 80 percent of the contracts on housing in opportunity areas are due to expire by 2016. See chart on previous page: Affordable housing at risk in the Southwest. At the same time, ensuring that housing stays affordable in urban neighborhoods near transit also poses a dilemma: It can be expensive to construct new affordable housing as well as to rehabilitate existing sub-standard affordable housing in neighborhoods where land values are increasing at a rate far above the regional average — which is the case in many metro areas. AFFORDABLE HOUSING YIELDS REVENUES A 2012 study by the National Association of Home Builders shows that affordable housing not only helps people in need, it also pumps millions of dollars into the economy and creates hundreds of jobs. The study, by NAHB senior economist Elliot Eisenberg, looked at the impact of build- ing new apartments using low-income housing tax credits in Denver’s 10-county metropolitan statistical area, primarily along transit corridors. Eisenberg concluded that in the first year this development provided 732 jobs, resulting in $57.6 million in local income as well as $5 million in taxes and other revenues for local government. He also found that the “annually recurring impact,” once the new apartments are occupied and residents are paying taxes, would be $16.7 in local income, $2.3 million in taxes and revenues for government, and 192 local jobs — impacts that are the result of the new apartments being occupied and residents paying taxes and otherwise participating in the local economy year after year. Eisenberg admits that even he was surprised by the size of the total economic impact, which he estimated to be about $200 million over 10 years. He told a meeting of the Denver Home Builders Association that “This type of housing not only provides enormous benefits to residents but it is an ongoing economic stimulus in terms of jobs and local income for the surrounding community as well. Many people think these renters don’t contribute to the economy. After all, they don’t have much money, or they wouldn’t be living in tax-credit properties. The flip side is they spend almost every dollar they earn . . . on food and services, health care, educating their kids and so on. For the city that creates a tremen- dous source of tax revenues. And all their money is spent locally.” CITIES STILL SHORT ON AFFORDABLE HOUSING Even before the Great Recession, cities were behind the eight ball when it came to building affordable housing. Now, at the moment that so many contracts on subsidized housing units are expiring, the recession has further reduced their resources, and Congress has cut back on federal affordable housing programs as well. The largest source of funding for affordable housing has been the “low-income housing tax credit” (LIHTC), which provides dollar-for-dollar reductions in investors’ federal income tax as an incentive to get private sector investment in affordable hous- ing, which must remain affordable for 30 years – a program signed into The popular Walk Score website, where you can calculate the walkability of any address, now also helps you find apartments based on your commute time. Enter the address of your workplace, choose how much time you are willing to spend commuting and whether you want to drive, walk or bike, take the bus or train, and Walk Score finds apartments that optimize your commute. Walk Score also helps you find an apartment within walking distance of the subway stop or express bus station nearest your office. And the “Walkers’ Paradise” feature allows you to find apartments in the most walkable neighborhoods. The website also notes that: The longer your commute, the more likely you are to be overweight, have high cholesterol and suffer from neck and back pain. (Source: Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.) Car ownership costs are the second largest household expense, with the average household spending more on their cars than on food and health care. (Source: Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.) People who live in walkable neighborhoods are happier, healthier and more likely to volunteer and to entertain friends at home. (Source: University of New Hampshire.) ON THE WAY THERE If You Lived Here You Would Be Home By Now
  21. 21. Living 21 law by President Ronald Reagan as part of the 1986 Tax Reform Act. All but 16 states have added transit proximity to their scoring criteria when they rank the projects that have applied for tax credits — acknowledging that these locations also lower transportation costs. The problem in this economy, according to a 2009 study by Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing, is that as a result of the credit market meltdown, the corporate investors on whom the program relied — primarily large national banks and Fannie Mae and Fred- die Mac — have swung from profit- ability to loss, with the result that they can no longer use tax credits. “As a result, demand has plummeted and the price of LIHTCs has fallen,” write the study’s authors, “creating funding gaps in projects that had received tax credit allocations in 2007 and 2008 but had not yet sold them. Thousands of projects and tens of thousands of units that would have otherwise been bought or rehabilitated stalled.” Cities are also trying to entice de- velopers to build affordable housing by providing a variety of other incentives such as property tax abatements, fee waivers, density bonuses and parking reductions. Many cities have considered “inclusionary zoning,” which requires developers to set aside a percentage of units as affordable housing in otherwise market-rate projects — a strategy pioneered by Montgomery County, Maryland, the sixth wealthiest county in the U.S. Montgomery County has built more than 10,000 affordable hous- ing units mixed in with market-rate projects since 1974. But critics of inclusionary zoning contend that it is an “indirect tax on developers.” Massachusetts’ Chapter 40B, which requires a set-aside of affordable units in all apartment and condo projects in that state, only narrowly survived a ballot initiative to repeal it in 2010. In the absence of an inclusionary housing policy, affordable hous- ing usually ends up getting negotiated on a project-by-project basis, which often leads to proposed projects becoming a protracted battle between residents, developers and other local interests. Sometimes, however, the results are good: The Development Com- mission in Portland, Oregon, used a developer agreement to convince the major landowner in the popular downtown-adjacent Pearl District to build affordable housing in return for public improvements that increased the value of his property. In return for these public invest- ments, the landowner built 7,500 housing units for families with a mix of incomes that mirrored the city’s population as a whole: 33 percent upper income, 20 percent middle income, 20 percent moderate income, 13 percent low income, and 14 per- cent very low income. Zoning codes are also being rewritten to promote diverse hous- ing choices and prices that suit the needs and budgets of singles, se- niors, families with children, couples without children, and large extended families. California, for example, requires that local jurisdictions grant density bonuses of 20 to 35 percent for projects that include a percentage of affordable units and — depending on the level of affordability — devel- opers are also offered parking reductions, which reduces the cost of development and increases the profitability. AFFORDABLE TOD FUNDS AND COMMUNITY BENEFITS AGREEMENTS The severity of the affordable housing shortage has also prompted government agencies to partner with charitable foundations, private investors and community developers to create financial resources that can be used to produce and preserve affordable housing near transit and provide other important amenities. Funds have been created in the San Francisco Bay Area, the City of Denver and in Washington, D.C, and funds or other types of financial tools are being considered in the Twin Cities, Phoenix, Chicago, Seattle, Salt Lake City, Atlanta and Los Angeles. In the San Francisco Bay Area, the $50 million Transit-Oriented Affordable Housing Fund (TOAH Fund) was created to provide flexible LAFAYETTE, LA HATTIEsBURG, MS MSLONGVIEW, WA CHARLOTTE, NC VINELAND, NJ Top 5 regions that are growing in opportunity areas Source: Reconnecting America
  22. 22. 22 Are We There Yet? financing that allows non-profit and for-profit developers to purchase and/or develop property near public transportation throughout the nine-county region. The Great Communities Collaborative — a group of regional and national nonprofits and philanthropic organizations that includes Reconnecting America — sponsored the work that went into creating the fund with the goal of promoting the development of permanently affordable housing, including supportive housing (hous- ing and services), as well as critical neighborhood services and ameni- ties including childcare, social services, fresh food markets and retail. The revolving loan fund is anticipated to allow developers to build on 20 to 30 acres of land and construct up to 4,000 units of affordable housing. It was jumpstarted by the Metropolitan Transportation Com- mission, the metropolitan planning organization for the nine-county region, with a $10 million investment. Other TOAH investors include Morgan Stanley and Citi Community Capital, the Ford Foundation, the San Francisco Foundation and Living Cities, a collaborative of national funders; and capital from a consortium of six community development finance institutions (CDFIs). One of the six CDFI consortium members — the Low Income Investment Fund — is the fund manager. Continuing concerns about affordability — and the recognition that it is best to build this affordable housing in communities that are “com- plete” — are also prompting people to join forces by creating “equity collaboratives” that focus on the production and the preservation of affordable housing and on providing lower-income people with greater access to economic opportunity in regions that have or are building transit systems. The Great Communities Collaborative in the Bay Area was one of the first, and other collaboratives have started up in the Twin Cities, Denver, New York, Seattle and Los Angeles. Denver’s newly formed “Mile High Connects” equity collaborative is being supported by the Ford Foundation along with several local founda- tions and local banks to make the case for building affordable housing near the new $6.7 billion transit system. The Central Corridor Funders Sci-Fi Outpost: Building An Opportunity Area In A Hostile Environment An astonishing development has arisen in the sea of big box retail and empty parking lots eight miles north of downtown Seattle, described thusly by blogger Dan Bertolet: “Cruising by Northgate Mall on I-5, the nearly completed Thornton Place evokes images of sci-fi outposts rising from the barren landscape of distant planets. In reality, Thornton Place is a daring pioneer in a built environment that is likewise hostile to human life. The conversion of nine acres of asphalt into the development is a phenomenal accomplishment.” The development includes 200 condos and 300 apartments, 20 percent of which are priced below the market and 143 of which provide assisted living for seniors, as well as 50,000 square feet of retail, a 14-screen cinema and great urban public space that serves as an ambitious counterpoint to an alluring stream restoration and stormwater treatment project. This effort brought the long-buried Thornton Creek back to life to treat urban stormwater runoff using a necklace of channels, pools and terraces that mimics the landscape of a natural creek, with lush native plantings, overlooks and paths. Thornton Place is full of sustainability bells and whistles: It has its own district heating system, energy efficient and resource- conserving LEED-certified buildings, preferred parking for alternative-fueled vehicles, and it is near a major bus transfer station and a planned light rail line. Meantime, the development also: Increases open space by 50 percent. Provides pedestrian links to adjacent. neighborhoods that shorten walking distances by 50 percent. Reduces impervious surfaces by 78 percen. Stormwater treatment project removes 40-80 percent of suspended solids from 91 percent of the average annual volume of stormwater. 85 percent of the project’s plant palette is native species. Created a new habitat that was quickly colonized by native plants and birds that migrated to the site. ON THE WAY THERE
  23. 23. Living 23 Collaborative in the Twin Cities is working on a range of strategies to get the most out of the light rail line now under construction between down- town Minneapolis and downtown St. Paul, including ensuring that small businesses along the line aren’t hit hard by the transit construction. The “community compact” negotiated by the Baltimore Neighbor- hood Collaborative over a $1.6 billion light rail project has become a national model for bringing communities together to articulate what — in addition to affordable housing — residents want from their public investment in transportation. This includes jobs and job train- ing, community revitalization and economic development, progressive environmental initiatives, and protection against involuntary displace- ment. The collaborative is buying and stabilizing vacant properties in “livable communities where people can find jobs, go to school, and live safe, healthy lives.” A SPUTNIK MOMENT The U.S. population will grow — the U.S. Census Bureau expects it to climb from 308 million in 2010 to 341 million in 2020 — and so will the housing market. But an estimated 90 percent of the popula- tion increase will be households without children, and 47 percent of those households will be aging Baby Boomers who are quickly becom- ing senior citizens. According to the Census Bureau, 20 percent of Americans will be 65 or older by 2030. Rental housing, townhomes, condos, live-work spaces and lofts are all housing types that will appeal to these renters and homebuyers, especially if the housing is located in neighborhoods that are “friendly” to older Americans and to families with children. An Internet search for “child-friendly neighborhoods,” for example, makes it clear that a large number of people are searching for them. Directing that development into complete communities and opportu- nity areas near transit could be one “sweet spot” for development. See list on page 21: Top 5 regions that are growing in opportunity areas. Even in regions where the population is decreasing it makes the most sense to focus resources in these places. In Detroit, for example, five companies have pledged $4 million over five years to convince their 16,000 employees to live downtown in the hopes of creating a 24-hour community that will liven things up — including the real estate market. These employees are eligible for a forgivable $20,000 loan toward purchase of a primary residence, and new renters receive a $2,500 allow- ance for an apartment, followed by another $1,000 the second year. Cur- rent renters get $1,000 to renew their leases, and homeowners receive matching funds of up to $5,000 to improve their homes’ exteriors. Urban Land Institute CEO Patrick Phillips told the San Diego Union- Tribune in 2011 that he believes the city’s close-in suburbs are going to be the sweet spot for redevelopment because they are close to transit, culture, entertainment, parks and other infrastructure. “They have a dis- tinct urban feel but don’t have the urban grit,” he said. “They are walk- able, architecturally interesting — and they are employment centers.” Phillips believes the housing market bust could be the development industry’s “Sputnik moment” — a time when re-thinking how and where we build could spark a wave of innovation and investment that could in turn fix both the housing market and the American economy. Spotlight On Laredo, Texas How often does Laredo make a Top 5 list? When it comes to the share of households living in opportunity areas, Laredo, Texas, ranks fifth in the nation after New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago. This is because Laredo has long adhered to the historic “Law of the Indies” — a body of laws used in Spanish colonies and thus throughout the Southwestern U.S. to guide the development of communities and favoring a development pattern with small blocks surrounding a central square. Doin g Well Needs F IXING 337th in regional access to parks 293rd in pedestrian safety 215th in opportunity areas that are food deserts 8th in number of workers in opportunity areas 56th in walkable blocks 80th in transit commuters
  24. 24. 24 Are We There Yet? Shout-outs Downtown Revitalizations And Smart Growth Incentives Six major land owners in suburban White Flint, Maryland, have agreed to finance a “21st century boulevard” with wide sidewalks, bike lanes, six rows of trees and lanes dedicated for transit in return for being allowed to build at higher densities near the Metro Red Line station. The planned Atlanta Beltline, a 33-mile circular light rail line on an abandoned rail corridor connecting 45 downtown and Midtown neighborhoods, could become this country’s most ambitious TOD project. The rail line and greenway with bike and pedestrian paths is expected to activate the real estate market around an estimated 3,000 acres of underutilized properties, and connect to the MARTA heavy rail line. Development in downtown Las Vegas, especially rental housing, is moving forward in spite of the recession, with businesses such as Zappos — which just moved its corporate headquarters downtown — providing money to repave streets, widen sidewalks and other improvements. Local government is doing a lot to incentivize this growth with public investment, and is working closely with developers. Downtown LaCrosse, Wisconsin emptied out when a new mall was built on the outskirts in the late 1970s. But the city has been offering low- interest loans to developers to build new buildings and renovate historic ones, with the results that people and businesses are moving back downtown — all during the Great Recession. Santa Fe, New Mexico, declined offers to build a large-scale mixed-use project that would have taken down historic buildings on a 50-acre site adjacent to a station built in the late 1800s and now served by commuter rail. The city opted instead to lease anchor sites at below-market rents to an arts-based teen center, contemporary arts organization, Latino cultural center and a farmers market, and adapting the historic structures for housing, retail and office. The project has become a catalyst for surrounding economic development. Washington, D.C., already well-served by its rail system, plans to build a 37-mile-long streetcar system that would put 50 percent of the city’s residences within walking distance of rail transit — up from 16 percent in 2011. Tulsa, Oklahoma, is offering $3 million in incentives for developers to build downtown housing with the goal of bringing back Tulsa’s glory days when the streets were bustling with people and excitement. In Phoenix local and national funders have created a $10 million Sustainable Communities Development Fund (the goal is to increase it to $50 million) to finance TOD, with an emphasis on affordable housing. Money can also be used to build grocery stores, childcare and other amenities. BETTER NEIGHBORHOODS, SAME NEIGHBORS The biggest question, however, remains unanswered: How do we get the right mix of affordable and market-rate housing, and how do we build more housing and transit and other neighborhood improve- ments but still leave in place the unique character and attributes of the neighborhood, and ensure that the people who already live there don’t get pushed out? A Reconnecting America study for the Los Angeles Housing De- partment found that 75 percent of Los Angeles residents who com- mute to work on public transportation make less than $25,000 a year. But Los Angeles has begun an ambitious transit expansion that will put the neighborhoods where these lower-income residents live within an easy 15-minute transit ride of hundreds of thousands of jobs, and even before transit construction began there has been an uptick in property values in these neighborhoods. The redevelopment effort around three subway stations in Holly- wood provides a complicated picture: Hollywood had been on the skids for decades before the stations opened, but in the dozen years follow- ing the incomes of households near stations and the number of cars owned by these households increased — and property tax revenues for the city increased six-fold. Hollywood has staged a major comeback and business is booming, even in the recession, but are the new residents driving their cars, walk- ing or biking, or taking transit? What happened to the lower-income people with fewer cars who were living there before? And what are the policies that work best to manage this change in a way that benefits everyone and ensures high transit ridership?
  25. 25. Living 25 For example, what is the right mix of incentives and exactions that can convince developers and investors to build near transit, but that also captures some of the land and property value that will be created, and uses that value to help subsidize affordable housing and other invest- ments that improve neighborhoods? A nonprofit organization in Los Angeles named SAJE (Strategic Actions for a Just Economy), which has positioned itself to address “the collision course that redevelopment and gentrification have set in motion in down- town Los Angeles” — where many of those transit riders who make less than $25,000 live — captured the essence of this balancing act in the title of a publication: “Better Neighborhoods, Same Neighbors.” As the demand for housing near transit increases, it’s important that lower-income people who are the most frequent users of transit can continue living where they will get the benefit of lower cost housing and transportation costs. Nationally, a larger percentage of lower-income households live near stations and in opportunity areas: 50 percent of all households in station areas are low-income, and 53 percent of all house- holds in opportunity areas are low-income. As a point of comparison, nationally only 40 percent of households are lower-income. In the online magazine Grist, Claire Thompson speculates on one solution to the threat of gentrification in her own suburban Seattle neighborhood: “One of the best ways would be for the neighborhood’s newcomers to invest their resources and energy in its existing infra- structures instead of totally taking and making them over — newcomers could send their kids to local public schools, which are starved for parental involvement. They could patronize the Ethiopian restaurant and Vietnamese nail salon, and the Mexican taco trucks — as well as the new foodie cafes. They could ride public transportation alongside their neighbors, to send the message that they want to be a part of the community that’s already there.” In fact, communities are always in flux. The key to smart planning is how we manage the changes so that “the community’s that’s already there” continues to be a vital part of the ever-evolving neighborhood. The Top 10 lists on the following pages highlight some regions that are doing well by our Living metrics, and are getting closer to becoming complete communities. The full list of metrics for 366 regions can be found on our website:
  26. 26. 26 Are We There Yet? Percent Of Households Living Near Fixed-Guideway Transit Ran k Regi on Score Regions Over 3 Million Regions 1 to 3 Million Regions 500,000 to 1 Million Regions Under 500,000 Rank Region Score Percent Of Households Living In Opportunity Areas Top Ten 1 New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PAMSA • • • • • • • • 44.55% 2 Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH MSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 27.56% 3 Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, IL-IN-WI MSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 27.12% 4 Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD MSA • • • • • • • • • • • 25.01% 5 San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CAMSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 24.22% 6 Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV MSA • • • • • • • • • • • 15.19% 7 San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CAMSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •10.95% 8 LosAngeles-Long Beach-SantaAna, CAMSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 8.03% 9 Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL MSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 5.04% 10 Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WAMSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 4.52% 1 San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CAMSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 20.37% 2 Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, OR-WAMSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 13.56% 3 Baltimore-Towson, MD MSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 9.42% 4 Pittsburgh, PAMSA• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 8.19% 5 Sacramento–Arden-Arcade–Roseville, CAMSA• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 7.89% 6 Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, OH MSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 7.38% 7 New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, LAMSA• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 7.03% 8 Salt Lake City, UT MSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 6.75% 9 Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, CO MSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 4.98% 10 St. Louis, MO-IL MSA• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 3.60% 1 Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT MSA• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 13.04% 2 New Haven-Milford, CT MSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 7.27% 3 Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown, NYMSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 6.50% 4 Ogden-Clearfield, UT MSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 5.53% 5 Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CAMSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 5.41% 6 Stockton, CAMSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 3.72% 7 Worcester, MAMSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 3.53% 8 Lancaster, PAMSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 3.48% 9 Portland-South Portland-Biddeford, ME MSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 3.43% 10 Albuquerque, NM MSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 2.58% 1 Trenton-Ewing, NJ MSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 11.54% 2 SantaFe,NM MSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 10.70% 3 Mount Vernon-Anacortes, WAMSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 9.90% 4 Bremerton-Silverdale, WAMSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 9.59% 5 Michigan City-La Porte, IN MSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 8.41% 6 Eugene-Springfield, OR MSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 6.44% 7 Atlantic City-Hammonton, NJ MSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 5.68% 8 Longview,TX MSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 4.75% 9 Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Goleta, CAMSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 4.14% 10 Bellingham, WAMSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 4.08% 1 New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA MSA • • • • 63.5% 2 Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA MSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • 54.7% 3 San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA MSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 43.8% 4 Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, IL-IN-WI MSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 38.8% 5 Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD MSA • • • • • • • • 33.7% 6 Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH MSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 32.3% 7 Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL MSA • • • • • • • • • • • 27.3% 8 San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA MSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 22.6% 9 Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV MSA • • • • • • • • 19.1% 10 Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA MSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 18.3% 1 San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA MSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 31.9% 2 Providence-New Bedford-Fall River, RI-MA MSA • • • • • • • • • • • 29.5% 3 New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, LA MSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 27.5% 4 Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI MSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 27.2% 5 Pittsburgh, PA MSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 22.5% 6 Buffalo-Niagara Falls, NY MSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 22.0% 7 Baltimore-Towson, MD MSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 20.2% 8 Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, OR-WA MSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 19.0% 9 Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, CO MSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 18.8% 10 Salt Lake City, UT MSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 15.5% 1 Honolulu, HI MSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 32.9% 2 Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ MSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 24.9% 3 Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT MSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 21.5% 4 Scranton–Wilkes-Barre, PA MSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 20.4% 5 Stockton, CA MSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 14.8% 6 Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA MSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 14.4% 7 Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA MSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 14.3% 8 Elmira, NY MSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 13.9% 9 New Haven-Milford, CT MSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 13.7% 10 Syracuse, NY MSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 13.0% 1 Laredo, TX MSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 36.4% 2 Altoona, PA MSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 29.8% 3 Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Goleta, CA MSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 25.6% 4 Salinas, CA MSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 25.2% 5 Erie, PA MSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 23.5% 6 Trenton-Ewing, NJ MSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 22.0% 7 Lebanon, PA MSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 21.0% 8 Atlantic City-Hammonton, NJ MSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 20.6% 9 Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA MSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 19.6% 10 Spokane, WA MSA • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • 19.1% Source: CTOD Source: Reconnecting America